By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora May 5, 2022, 7:47 pm
MANILA – Ukrainian Ambassador to the Philippines Olexander Nechytaylo on Thursday appealed to Filipino companies to weigh the "moral aspect" of doing business with Russia amid the continuing war in the country.
"It's not right to pay taxes in a country that is using that money to continue the bloody war and the war against humanity. Some do it for a very practical reason because the international community imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia. You have to understand that this level of sanctions has never been imposed on any country before," he said in a media roundtable in Makati City.
"My appeal to the Philippine business community, if you compare the potential revenue or potential profit of continuing working with Russia, and if you compare the potential loss, the loss would be much more therefore I call upon the Philippine business community to cease the business operations in Russia," he added.
Nechytaylo said the global economy would remain volatile as long as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues.
While Kyiv is far from Southeast Asia, he said the war also affects the region in many other ways, including in the area of food security.
"Wheat constitutes the largest commodity that we sell to the Philippines, so obviously with the war taking place in Ukraine, these kinds of supplies can be disrupted. And it may lead to or have already led, perhaps to the increase of the price for the food," he said.
"(Another) consequence is not just the food security, but also the increase of the global price or let's say the volatility of the global economy. You've already seen the increase in the price of petroleum and other energy sources so it's going to have a tremendous global impact. That's one of the reasons why we believe the international community should care," he added.
Nechytaylo also urged Filipinos to help fight disinformation about the war.
"Propaganda is a very important part of warfare, social media, not just traditional media, but also social media accounts, you know, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok-- these are very important and very powerful tools," he said.
"We don't have as many resources like Russia to invest in propaganda outlets so what we are trying to do is, we are trying to reach out to the media directly and express our point of view, to deliver our story, our side of the story," he added.
He said back in Ukraine, his immediate family witnessed first-hand how the Russian military strikes pulverized homes and buildings in their community.
"My dad refused to leave. Although he's quite an elderly person, he says this is my home, this is my land. Even if they bomb and they do bomb, the last military strike was just the other day, he says, 'I will stay here, no matter what and I will, if I cannot carry the gun, I can be a volunteer in the hospital. That's the general sentiment there so when you share those stories no propaganda can beat that because I know this is the truth," Nechytaylo said, recalling his conversation with his father.
He said his friend's daughter, a 14-year-old national weightlifting champion, was also one of the strikes' civilian casualties.
"She was killed together with her mother so these are the stories that no propaganda can beat. The only way to deal with it is first to deny access to propaganda to the mainstream media. And second, tell the truth,” he said.
The envoy noted that since the beginning, the war with Russia was not only a fight between Kyiv and Moscow but a "war between autocracy and democracy".
"This is the battle of values and we believe those countries who propagate and advocate democratic values should be on the side of international law and on the side of justice," he said.